iOS x.1

This Wednesday, at their annual special music event, Apple will most likely introduce the final version of iOS 4.1 for iPhone and iPod touch (though probably not for iPad). Apple released the first beta for iOS 4.1 on July 14 and stuck to their every-two-weeks cycle for beta 2 on July 27 and beta 3 on August 3.

What we've seen so far includes a new, font-crazy version of Game Center, which was also included in the iOS 4 betas but removed for the general release, and FaceTime connections over email, which will be required for non-phone devices like iPod touch 4.

It will also likely contain bug fixes for the proximity sensor, and hopefully performance fixes for iPhone 3G.

Those features are certainly impressive, those fixes certainly much needed. But is that all we'll get? There's no way to know what Apple will do in the future, but we can look at what they've done with past iOS x.1 releases for clues...

Update 2: iOS 5.1 has now been released.

Update 1: iOS 4.1 has now

iOS 3.1 (iPhone 3.1)

iOS 3.1, originally referred to as iPhone 3.1, was released on September 9, 2009 following Apple's It's only rock and roll but we like it special music event. It fixed issues with iPhone 3G Wi-Fi and icon display. It also added:

  • Triple click Home for accessibility options
  • Voice control over Bluetooth
  • Remote passcode lock with Find my iPhone
  • Save MMS to camera roll
  • Event location in popup alert
  • Non-destructive video clip trimming
  • Tethered data usage stats
  • Fraud warnings toggle for Safari
  • iTunes account credit display
  • Top Grossing in App Store
  • Genius for apps
  • Genius mixes
  • Copy and paste in Phone and Contacts

iOS 2.1 (iPhone 2.1)

iOS 2.1, originally referred to as iPhone 2.1, was introduced on September 9, 2008 at Apple's Let's rock special music event and released on September 12, 2008. It fixed problems with call drops, battery life, backup times, email reliability, 3rd party app installation speeds, SMS performance, contact loading and search, "improved accuracy" of 3G bars (which have since been "corrected" again in iOS 4.0.1). Features included:

  • Screen shot added camera shutter sound
  • Load earlier SMS messages
  • SMS alert repeat
  • Disable Camera in Settings Restrictions
  • Option to wipe data after 10 failed passcode attempts
  • Genius playlist creation
  • Tap icon to pause/resume app install
  • App icons remain in place following on-device update

Note: Unlike iOS 3, where iOS 3.2 was exclusive to iPad, there was an iOS 2.2 (iPhone 2.2) update for iPhone and iPod touch. iPhone 2.2 added Google Street View, Transit and Walking directions, the ability to turn off auto-correct, audio and video podcasts in the iTunes Store app, App Store "rate app on delete" (since removed in iOS 4), the return of Update All for apps, and a rejiggered Safari search bar.

iOS 1.1 (iPhone 1.1)

iOS 1.1 (iPhone 1.1) was originally shown off on the first generation iPod touch on September 14, 2007 during Apple's The beat goes on special music event, but was released as iOS 1.1.1 (iPhone 1.1.1, or September '07 update) for iPhone on September 27. Added were:

  • iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store app
  • Louder speaker volume
  • Double click home to launch favorites or iPod controls
  • Double tap space bar for a period (.)
  • Landscape support for Mail attachments
  • Re-ordering for Stocks and Weather items
  • Apple Bluetooth headset (RIP) battery status
  • Disable roaming data
  • Additional passcode lock time settings
  • Adjustable alert volumes

There was no iOS 1.2 (iPhone 1.2) update, but there was a significant iOS 1.1.3 (iPhone 1.1.3 or January '08) update shown off at Macworld on January 15, 2008 that added Mail, Maps, Stocks, Weather, and Notes to iPod touch (for a price), gave Google Maps the "locate me" function, introduced "jiggly mode" to re-arrange icons, added iTunes gift card redemption on-device, gave lyrics to music, let you add Web Clips to the home screen, enabled multi-person SMS, included Gmail as a default set up type, made the keyboard multitouch, and put chapters, language, etc. into movies.

So what does this mean for iOS 4.1?

Smaller version updates mean smaller feature additions. If you're holding out hope for a brand new notification system you'll probably have to wait for next March and the iOS 5 sneak preview event. If Game Center, and FaceTime moving beyond the iPhone, interest you, then you'll probably have lots to be happy about. It's always possible we'll get "One more thing..." but looking back over previous iOS x.1 (iPhone x.1) updates, I'm not holding my breath. Too much.

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

iOS x.1


IOS desperately needs a notifications bar. nothing fancy like palm's, just something
comparable to that of the frickin droid eris. Is that asking too much from a company
that created the retina display?

Every September apple event has been a music event, and they always release a new os update.

I'd be happy with a notifications system. It's hard to think of additional features that could be added via software updates. I'm pretty happy with my iPhone 4 :p. Best phone on the market!

For me, fixing the proximity sensor - I am SO tired of talking to people on speakerphone after hanging up on them once - fixing 3G on iOS 4 so I can tell my friends it's safe to upgrade - and expanding FaceTime for the next iPads and Touches and Macs with cameras(!) is all I need to make me the happiest of Grrrls. Otherwise iOS 4 has answered most of my OS needs.
Killing all open apps would be nice since I'm not jailbreaking anymore. Better Bluetooth and voice control would be nice.

We could also look at a one step removed example, we could hope it is more like OSX 10.1, which made the woefully underbaked 10.0 release usable. (Not that iOS4 has nearly that level of problems, unless you are on a 3G.) It is naive to think there will be that level of improvement, of course, but a dull, solid release that fixes the proximity sensor and performance issues would be welcome.

i think it is shocking that the notification system will only get an update in iOS5. it's the only part of the os thats glaringly incomplete. everything else is window dressing. it just seems to stretch reality when everyone claps in march when he says ' well we're not the first to the table with notifications ; but we thought we'd do it right.. and we've been working our buts off on this '

@zero credibility, an updated notification system is no sure thing for iOS 5. That would be a major over haul and apple has never mentioned they agree that their current system needs tweaking.

Will AVRCP improve the sound quality of my BT headphones by chance? I have a pair of Sony Ericsson HBH-IS800 headphones and they sounded much better when connected to a Sony phone in the store than they do on my iPhone...wondering if that is related to Apple's BT execution.

I'm not happy with the current notification system, I'd be a happy camper with systemwide SMS similar to BiteSMS, and I know it's asking for too much but, I'd love to see an Apple polished SbSettings.

I think it would be a great idea if apple could make macs facetime capable, that way you could comunicate from an iphone to a mac pretty much anywhere there is wifi, I'd be like skype but muchhhhh better. just sayin' :)

There is not going to be a new notification system in a x.1 release. Don't know really what I want/need from 4.1, restoring as new fixed my proxy sensor. Other than a notification system I'm pretty happy with my iP4 and iOS 4 as is.

What I want to know is where are all these vigorous OS updates Jobs stated was going to happen in his employee-only Town Hall back in January. All I'm seeing is the same old iOS schedule cycle. At this point, 4.1 sounds like it will be proceeded with iPad only 4.2 in January with iOS 5 in June. SMDH

almost every thing everybody is asking for is in jailbreak apps excepts for some bug fixes lol. I could care less for 4.1 really. I need my jailbreaks anyways.

What about the camera issues (yellow tint, white balance off when taking indoor photos)???? I really hope something is done about this. I updated from the 3GS becase I had a baby and wanted to be able to take better photos. So far, most of my shots come out far worse. :(

Why is there so many updates so quickly. Since ios4 came out , they have had to realease an update every month.

I personally don't care what the update is. I'll update to it once the OS version is jailbreakable. I've gotten all that I was looking forward to w/iOS 4 But I'm always going to be an iPhoneUser. So it's nice to see of they sneak something else in there.

@CG - I'm just implying that it has to be the user, not the hardware. No way the 3GS camera could make a better picture than the iPhone 4. I'm not sure what app you're using, what you're doing or what settings you have applied, but it's clearly not correct.

If your happy with the os as is that means your happy that one alert wipes out the other when it comes in with no way to see eharvthe first one was. And your happy with a text stopping what your doing dead in it's tracks. And you must be happy with having the same tones as all your friends for SMS and email ba-bing " was that your phone, or mine, oh it's his right?" not me let's see what else they got for ios 4.1

What would be totally awesome, would be having the ability to swipe to the next message when texting..having the old iPod control back with the double tap home button option..more personalization options, such as more ringtones and text alerts..even the cheapest phones have a wide variety of tones to choose from..this being the most advanced phone compared to most, I'd say it's lacking a lot, and I've had each and every model since the release of the first, and have the 4 now. Text swiping would be neat I think.

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